September 13th Section 8 Lawsuit Hearing

Bryan Pease, Carol Spong, Parisa Ijadi-Maghsoodi and Clovis Honoré

Our President joined our Housing Chair, Carol Spong at the hearing on September 13th regarding our lawsuit against the San Diego Housing Commission, alleging that the way the Commission sets Section 8 voucher values, and its impact on people of color and low-income San Diego Residents, should be changed to be more equitable.

We were also joined by our Assistant Treasurer, Wanda Rogers and NAACP members Abdul Waliullah Muhammad and Bro. Charles 3X, as well as at least one Section 8 client. 

The Court has directed the San Diego Housing Commission to share the documents we have been requesting for four months now and that is a win, the Housing Commission is not allowed to withhold this evidence and we feel this evidence will further demonstrate the extent to which the Section 8 payment standards perpetuate racial segregation. 

Overall, we had some gains and some setbacks, but we are still moving forward. There is a lot of information that the Commission has not given us that we need for our case and the judge  authorized us to get as least some of it from the Commission. We will be doing that as well as working to get everything we need to prevail in this case. Our extraordinary attorneys, Paraja Ijadi-Maghsoodi, Bryan Pease and James Crosby are putting in incredible hours and doing an incredible job for the people and for the NAACP. 

This will be a long case but we are in it to win it. We will keep you posted on developments. It appears clear that we will need to go beyond the courtroom to other methods of persuasion to achieve our goal of equity in housing in San Diego. Stay tuned.  Thanks to those who came out and supported us in the courtroom. 

Makeda “Dread” Cheatom: 2019 NAACP San Diego Branch President’s Award Winner

The NAACP San Diego Branch is pleased to present the President’s Award to Makeda “Dread” Cheatom at our 2019 Freedom Fund Dinner!

Makeda “Dread” Cheatom grew up in San Diego, CA and has dedicated her life to music, art, culture and well being.

In 1971, she opened the first vegetarian restaurant and international cultural center in San Diego, the world-famous, Prophet Vegetarian Restaurant. The Prophet collaborated with many international health advocates like Dick Gregory and Dr Bronner. Makeda later met Bob Marley and began her music career as a promoter and has been coined to of brought reggae to Southern California. For over 25 years Makeda hosted, Bob Marley Day at the San Diego Sports Arena. In 1989, she established WorldBeat Cultural Center, a non-profit multi-cultural center in Balboa Park where she is the Executive Director.


For over 30 years Makeda has hosted her own radio show, Reggae Makossa and was recently approved a community low powered FM station, 101.1FM (KVIB).


Makeda has also founded WorldBeat Center’s Children’s Ethnobotany Peace Garden which is used as an Outdoor Classroom to bring families outdoors and teach children of the origins of their food and science. The garden’s educational programming has also recently been awarded grants by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Science Foundation. One of the NSF grants she participated was a four year research project, ​Examining Contextual Factors Influencing the Implementation of Projects Designed to Improve Cultural Diversity in Informal STEM Programming​. Currently, she is working as a Principle Investigator on a 3 year NSF grant project with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology on noise pollution in underserved communities across the country. Over the years Makeda’s vision and work has been able to bring children of low-income families to the garden and create environmental stewards.


Some of her awards include: Channel 10 Leadership Award, Project Concern International, the Palava Tree for Arts & Culture among others. Makeda was also been inducted into the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame as a Cultural Bridge Builder, was named “San Diego Trailblazer” by the African American Heritage Foundation and has been recognized as one of the 25 most influential women in San Diego’s history by San Diego’s 10 News viewers. In 2016 she was awarded the KPBS San Diego Local Hero Award. July 2017 she received the Jan Merrit Leadership Award by San Diego Unified School District TRACE Program and March 2018 Women of the Year Award by CA State 78th Assembly District.

Throughout her life she has traveled to 4 continents and will be visiting her 5th in 2019 and 2020 where she plans to collaborate in tours to Ghana and Ethiopia. Makeda believes music, art, dance and culture will unite all races, all cultures, and all people across the world.

The Freedom Fund Dinner is an annual event that, in addition to celebrating our supporters, recognizes groups and individuals who have contributed to the cause of Civil Rights and racial justice throughout the City, County, State and Nation. This year will be an extraordinary celebration, as we look back on the 100 years since the founding of the San Diego Branch, and look forward to our bright future.

The evening is sure to be memorable and enjoyable for all.



Racial Harassment Has No Place in High School Athletics

2019-09-16

To:
Chris Carter, San Clemente High School Principal
Kirsten M. Vital, Capistrano Unified School District Superintendent

On the evening of September 13, 2019, the Lincoln High School football team played San Clemente High School at the invitation of San Clemente.  This game was sanctioned by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), and was subject to its rules and regulations, which mandate respect for all participants.

During the game, multiple spectators heckled the Lincoln players and cheer squad, repeatedly using racial slurs include the “n-word.”  Furthermore, cheer squad members were racially harassed in restrooms, again including the “n-word.” This harassment came not only from high-school-age youth, but also from adult fans.

Four different Lincoln parents appealed to adults in San Clemente gear, attempting to get contact information for San Clemente administrators.  While they were assured that administrative staff would be contacted, they received no response. There was no attempt to correct the situation over the public address system.  The cheer squad, closer to the spectators and therefore in more direct contact with the racists in attendance, were advised to leave the game, and did so.

We are shocked and disgusted that such blatant racism would occur in 2019 at an athletic contest for high school students.  Athletics are part of the educational system, and all of the anti-discrimination law and policy that applies in the classroom applies on the field and on the premises of an athletic contest.  Furthermore, CIF prohibits discrimination and commands respect for all players and personnel.

While we are shocked and disgusted at the harassment itself, we are outraged and the lack of response shown from the San Clemente administration.  You may be sure that we, along with our colleagues in the NAACP Orange County Branch, will be pursuing all avenues to see that this sort of harassment does not occur again.

We call on San Clemente High School and the Capistrano Unified School District to take the following actions:

  1. Institute a program of implicit bias training for all their athletics staff, including coaches and administrators.
  2. Provide an administrative contact to each opposing team who will be responsible for addressing such activity the moment it occurs at any future athletic contest.
  3. An announcement over the public address system at all remaining 2019-2020 athletic contests reaffirming that respect is to be shown to all visiting athletes.

We stand ready to assist with bias training and other resources to improve the attitude and response of the staff of such athletic events.

We are considering further action, including seeking forfeiture of the game and suspension of SCHS from the CIF, as well as filing formal complaints with CUSD, the Equity Office of the California Department of Education, and the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Education.  We also refer you to the August 28th Collins v. Torlakson (Case No. F075781) decision reaffirming our right to pursue remedy in court over incidents such as these.

We invite you to have a serious discussion with us.

Respectfully,

Clovis Honoré, President
NAACP San Diego Branch

Cc:
Stephanie Brown, Lincoln High School Principal
Cindy Marten, San Diego Unified School District Superintendent
Sharon Whitehurst-Payne, San Diego Unified School District Trustee
NAACP Orange County Branch
California Interscholastic Federation

Jose Elenes Reyes Jr.: 2019 NAACP San Diego Branch Freedom Fund Dinner Student Honoree

The NAACP San Diego Branch is pleased to honor Jose Elenes Reyes Jr. at our 2019 Freedom Fund Dinner!

José’s impressive set of achievements, in the face of tremendous life challenges, is a testament ot his personal strength.  The sheer determination that it took to accomplish a high grade-point average in school, as well as to excel in sports is commendable. He has used all of the challenges that may have caused hi to fail and allowed them to mold him into the resilient, capable leader and mentor that he is today. 

The Freedom Fund Dinner is an annual event that, in addition to celebrating our supporters, recognizes groups and individuals who have contributed to the cause of Civil Rights and racial justice throughout the City, County, State and Nation. This year will be an extraordinary celebration, as we look back on the 100 years since the founding of the San Diego Branch, and look forward to our bright future.

The evening is sure to be memorable and enjoyable for all.



5th Annual Interfaith Prayer Vigil Was a Moving Experience

For those of you who were not able to attend the Prayer Vigil, we want to let you all know that the Prayer Vigil was a moving experience with more that 60 people of different faiths, ethnicities, ages and parts of the county in attendance. The presenters were filled win sincerity, thoughtfulness and passion in their presentations and prayers. There is a strong vibration for peace and harmony in every community, and our friends and allies are praying with us and for us that the reckless and painful loss of the lives of African Americans at the hands of police officers will come to an end, and that justice will be done for those we have already lost.

Thanks to Pastor Byrd for assistance with logistics, the use of his Church and his gracious words of welcome and benediction.  Thanks to Bishop Bowser for his support and his part in the ceremony. My special thanks goes out to all of the presenters, but especially to Tasha Williamson and Cedrina McDonald, who so bravely shared the pain of the loss of her cousin, Earl McNeil to the egregious and deadly neglect of the National City Police Department and its officers.

In 2016,  August 11th was designated by the NAACP to be an annual National Day of Mourning to commemorate all African Americans killed in police involved interactions.  The San Diego branch of the NAACP held its fifth annual Interfaith Prayer Vigil on August 16, 2019 at Christ United Presbyterian Church of San Diego in support of this resolution.  Clergy representing the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian faith traditions and community organizers who shared personal stories of loss and reflection, moved the hearts and minds of the many participants from throughout San Diego County. 

Attendees listen to Cedrina McDonald
Thanks to our Presenters:
3rd Row: Clovis Honoré, President, NAACP San Diego Branch
2nd row, eft to right: Tasha Williamson, Cedrina McDonald (cousin of Earl McNeil), Jeffrey Karahameto (SDOP), Leah Blake (Community Activist) Rabbi Laurie Coskey, Imam Wali Fardan, Carla Stayboldt (Continuing the Conversation on Racism)
Bottom row, left to right: Rev. Patty Allen. Pastor Kori Pacyniak, Pastor Nathan Byrd, Pastor Buddy Hauser, Bishop Cornelius Bowser
NAACP members who organized the vigil, left to right:
Diane Langworthy, Petrina Branch, Khalada Salaam-Alaji, Linda Cochran-Johnson
Also pictured is a wall hanging containing the names of so many lives lost to Police violence.

Attendance Needed: SDHC Lawsuit Hearing

SEPTEMBER 13th!

As you know, the NAACP San Diego Branch is involved in a lawsuit to fight the San Diego Housing Commission’s discriminatory and segregationist practice of setting Section 8 voucher levels too low to allow access to all areas of our city.

Low-income folks are a positive asset to a neighborhood when that neighborhood is doing well. They become part of the community, they participate in life, and their labor and presence helps the community thrive. It’s when low-income folks are forced to live all in one place that there is trouble; when nobody has much money, there’s no way for that neighborhood to thrive.

If we build a truly fair housing system, that lets low-income folks live throughout our city, they will do better and all our neighborhoods will do better.

There will be a hearing on September 13th at 10:30 a.m. in Department 66 at 330 W. Broadway (the Hall of Justice), to determine whether or not the SDHC will be required to let us look at their records so we can see fully into how they have behaved. Your support would be very much appreciated at this hearing!

It is important to RSVP if you plan to attend, so we can notify you of any last minute changes. Please check your mail before setting out for the hearing to make sure the Court hasn’t change it again.


We are very grateful to those of you who came out for our Press Conference; it got the media interested. Make no mistake; regardless of attorneys or judges or laws or motions or rulings, public opinion MATTERS. If YOU show up and YOU show you CARE about what they’re doing to low-income people and the neighborhoods the SDHC forces them to live in, our local government WILL take notice!

Photo: Robert Tambuzzi

NAACP San Diego Joins Lawsuit Against San Diego Housing Commission’s Racial Segregation Policies – Voice and Viewpoint

Coverage from ABC 10

Coverage from NBC 7

Children Don’t Belong on Prison Buses

Really, San Diego City Parks & Rec and County Sheriff?

Do we really have to say this?  Children don’t belong on prison buses.  Children don’t belong in environments meant to cage and hold adults.  It is entirely inappropriate for any children at any time for any reason.

How much worse, then, that these children were largely children of color from underserved communities.  These children have grown up in economically distressed, segregated communities. One reason these communities are economically distressed is the predatory policing practiced against African-Americans and other people of color.  This predatory policing has been described as the “school-to-prison pipeline.” The idea that the Sheriff and the City would deliberately load black and brown schoolchildren onto a prison bus is beyond endurance.

It adds insult to injury that other vehicles have been used for other children; why is it the black and brown who are loaded onto prison buses?

We would have applauded the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department for sponsoring a beach trip for underserved youth.  We would have applauded the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department for organizing the trip. Instead, these two organizations have demonstrated their inability to understand (or perhaps their callous disregard of) the difficulties faced by the poor and the brown in the City of San Diego.  

The NAACP San Diego Branch is in its 100th year of supporting Civil Rights and fighting discrimination.  We would be delighted to help educate Sheriff Bill Gore and his Department, as well as Mayor Kevin Faulconer and his Parks and Recreation Department.  These thoughtless and insensitive actions do real harm to our children and our communities, and they must stop.